Well, to begin, as an amateur sleuth, restricted to finds on the Internet, I wouldn’t dare attempt to stamp any determination of mine with absolute certainty. But a picture has definitely been painted and from it a whole lot can be inferred.
First let’s start at 2014; that was the year Flynn was terminated from the Obama administration as head of the DIA. In a leaked email between Colin Powell and later DIA director Vincent Stewart, the reason given for his firing was that he was "abusive with staff, didn't listen, worked against policy, bad management, etc.
Flynn subordinates at DIA had a term used frequently at their headquarters: ‘Flynn Facts’. Also, in feb of that year, Stefan Halper, a long time Us intelligence asset, stated, after a meeting with Flynn and a Russian woman at a London conference, he became so alarmed with their association that he contacted U.S. authorities in the belief that Flynn might be compromised by Russian intelligence.
After 33 years of service in the U.S Army, Flynny retired in August 2014. Shortly, thereafter, the Flynn Intel Group was started with his son, Michael G Flynn. By 2015, Flynn had been paid more than $65,000 by russian companies. And near to the end of that year, $45,000 was paid by RT for Flynn to sit next to Vladimir Putin and give a speech at a conference in Moscow; an act that stunned many of his former military associates.
In Feb 2016, Flynn was asked by the Trump campaign to serve as an advisor; a position that required Flynn provide the campaign his expertise on intelligence affairs. As a sidenote, Flynn by sept of 2016 was paid $530,000 by a turkish company with deep ties to the turkish president. During this time, Flynn made no effort to register as a foreign agent. Also, by August, as a Trump advisor, Flynn worked with other Trump campaign advisors, both official and unofficial, to acquire Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Through several avenues -including associates Barbara Leeden and Peter Smith-- Flynn made efforts to reach out to shadowy figures on the dark web purported to be russian intelligence officials successful at hacking Clinton’s private server. Smith, a wealthy investment banker, and long time conservative activist, spent a healthy sum of his own money, according to a statement he provided retired British intelligence officer, Matt Tait. After providing his own account of his efforts to the Wall Street Journal in 2017, Smith, at 81, committed suicide.
But back to Flynn. In Nov of 2016 Donald Trump won the presidential election and appointed Flynn to his transition team, announcing Flynn as his future National Security advisor. In November of that year, Flynn and the President-elect’s son in law, Jared Kushner attended a meeting with the Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak. U.S intelligence agencies were able to intercept a report transmitted by Kislyak to his superiors. To summarize, the conversation concerned Syria and Kisylak’s hope was that further discussion of U.S Syrian policy could be discussed on secure channels; to which, in response, Jared Kushner suggested creating a backchannel at the Russian embassy.
Also, throughout this period, both Kushner and Flynn lobbied on behalf of a company called Ip3, which planned to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in a proposed joint U.S.-French-Russian-British project; one that would have possibly violated the atomic energy act.
By December, while on vacation in the Dominican Republic, Flynn again made contact with the Russian Ambassador Kisylak. This time the discussion related to the Obama administration’s efforts to sanction the russian government for their election interference.
Apparently, Flynn gave the ambassador assurances. A month later, when questioned by FBI agents --including now infamous Peter Strzok--, it was determined Flynn lied about the call. This led Sally Yates, then a senior justice department official, to believe that Flynn was compromised. By April, Flynn was removed from his position as National Security advisor. By November 2017, news outlets began to report that the Mueller investigation had ample evidence to charge both Flynn and his son.
It was also reported at that time that Flynn was under investigation by Mueller for alleged kidnapping plot; one involving the extrajudicial rendition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen to Turkey. Flynn's firm had been paid more than $500,000 for their efforts. By dec, Flynn and Mueller’s office reached a plea agreement in the district of columbia’s u.s court. In the plea agreement, Flynn acknowledged making false statements to the FBI in regards to his call with Kislyak.
As part of the deal, Flynn’s son Michael avoided prosecution. At this point, in regards to the whole Trump russia story, all information Flynn possessed had to be divulged. Every transaction. Years later, when documentation was release around the time of Flynn’s scheduled sentencing, numerous redactions were made public as was the outrage expressed by Flynn’s sentencing judge, Emmet Sullivan. As mentioned earlier, a word bandied about by the judge was ‘treason’.
Apparently the judges vitriol disturbed Flynn enough that a change of counsel was made and a new strategy employed. A public relations campaigned ensued. Right wing outlets began to decry the fact that Flynn was being charged at all; with a crime many felt hurt no one.
The issue with this, however, is judge Emmet Sullivan, more than likely didn’t register volcanic outrage over the substance of Flynn’s one call. As reported as the time of the scheduled sentencing, ongoing criminal investigations were involved; explaining the many redactions. Hence, in all likelihood, a great deal occurred than just that one phone call or even Flynn’s kidnapping plot.
The question then is what? And will an explanation ever be provided the public?
If I had to guess, the matter possibly concerns other members of Trump’s inner circle -- like Jared Kushner. In particular, the deal with IP3 looks incredibly suspicious. But that’s only a guess. And as to whether or not the public will ever know the complete story, my guess is possibly.